No new sightings of dock from Japan

The Associated PressDecember 18, 2012 

Federal, state and tribal officials are attempting to track a large dock that was reported drifting off the coast of Washington state, one of potentially hundreds of objects that could wash up along the West Coast from the tsunami that struck Japan last year.

There have been no reports of anyone seeing it since it was initially reported Friday by fishermen, Keeley Belva, a spokeswoman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Monday.

Fishermen aboard the vessel Lady Nancy reported seeing a large object floating off the coast, about 16 nautical miles northwest of Grays Harbor. The object was similar to a large dock that beached in Oregon over the summer, officials said.

The Coast Guard has been broadcasting alerts to mariners about the floating debris spotted last week, and helicopter crews have also conducted five searches for the object.

“It doesn’t pose a danger right now to anyone,” said Coast Guard spokesman Robert Lanier, adding that the goal is to locate it, attach a data marker and track it so agencies can deal with it responsibly.

The Coast Guard is working with NOAA, state agencies and the Quinault Indian nation to track the object.

Terry Egan, the tsunami marine debris lead for Washington state who is with the Washington Emergency Management Division, said modeling estimates say the dock could reach landfall near the Quinault Indian Nation reservation or on Olympic National Park land.

The object sits low in the water and may be hard to spot in rough waters, Egan said.

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